How to Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near North Little Rock AR
Choosing the right phlebotomy technician school near North Little Rock AR is an important first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to assess and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In reality, many prospective students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process too. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main duty, there is actually far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in North Little Rock AR laboratories and are accountable for making certain that samples are analyzed properly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The most basic response is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are many and diverse, such as North Little Rock AR hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a particular type of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to finish and furnishes a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not required in most states, most North Little Rock AR employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the principal certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are a few states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Schools
To start with, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial part of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical part of the training can be attended online, it could be a more practical alternative for some North Little Rock AR students. As an additional benefit, many online schools are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy program you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from North Little Rock AR as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. All of these decisions are a critical part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Arkansas? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed before working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the North Little Rock AR job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of all schools you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even contact some North Little Rock AR hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Arkansas school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local medical facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local North Little Rock AR medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the North Little Rock AR health care community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to verify that the ultimate college you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is particularly true if you decide to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near North Little Rock AR, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near North Little Rock Arkansas
Making certain that you choose the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are found in a wide range of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings can differ somewhat across the country as each state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must carefully research and compare each school before making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in North Little Rock AR.